Off-Season Washing Made Easy With Griot’s Garage

Even living in California, the winter is the worst time of the year in terms of the cleanliness of my vehicles. Whether it’s rain that happens just often enough to prevent washing the previous rainstorm off, or the evening dew that soaks my street-parked E30 each night, as long as I have been driving, winter has always been a time of having a dirty vehicle. Although I don’t drive it too often to begin with, and even less in inclement weather, my 135i also falls victim to the season, and usually ends up wearing the remnants of a rainstorm for at least a week or two. It’s never been a big deal, because I keep the paint clean and waxed, but it annoys me, as I get an innate sense of satisfaction from having a clean car.

I’ve also always been skeptical of waterless, or more importantly,   washing. I know there are some great products that have been on the market for years, but I’ve always suffered through the dirt until I could break out the hose and two buckets, and spend a day making things perfect once again. Some of these wash products have earned great reputations over the past decade or so, but not having to deal with snow or freezing temperatures, I could never mentally justify their use.

Everything changed this December though, and I have BMW CCA Club sponsor Griot’s Garage to thank for it. Along with the other Griot’s Garage products I’ve been covering my use of this year, like their Fine Surface Prep Mitt Kit (truly amazing), or their Heavy-Duty Wheel Cleaner (a great bargain compared to other comparable cleaners), I also received their Rinseless Wash & Wax Kit. I waited all year to use it, but once winter hit and my car looked like it, it was time to give it a shot.

Rinseless (and waterless) washes work similarly to spray-on detailers like Speed Shine or Griot’s newer Best of Show Detailer. In essence, they suspend dirt and debris away from the paint surface, allowing a plush microfiber cloth to wipe them away without harming the clear coat and creating fine paint swirls that require compounding and polishing to remedy. Griot’s offers two products in the non-conventional car wash category; their Spray-On Car Wash, which is something I will certainly default to throwing in the trunk, along with a nice pile of microfiber towels, as I’m packing for future road trips, and their Rinseless Wash & Wax, which is a seriously impressive product with a variety of uses.

Griot’s Rinseless Wash & Wax can be used to clean your car in a number of different ways. From its conventional use as a rinseless washing shampoo that you simply wipe on and dry off, to being sprayed onto the paint from Griot’s Dilution Bottle, much the same way as Spray-On Car Wash, while it also doubles as a clay lubricant like Speed Shine does. Not to mention, when used for washing, it also applies protection and enhances gloss thanks to its perfect blend of hydrophobic polymers and carnauba wax. Finally, it also quadruples as a drying aid—mist it into the panels of your wet car post-wash, dry with one of Griot’s towels, and the paint is clean, glossy, and protected.

Although Griot’s Rinseless Wash & Wax Kit looks a bit intimidating and complicated to use from first glance, it’s nothing of the sort. Griot’s, as I have noted in just about every one of my previous articles about their products, makes things so easy to use the process becomes fun. Griot’s Rinseless Wash & Wax is branded as being ultra-concentrated, and it is. To get started and properly use it for the task at hand, it must be diluted to a few different levels.

Griot’s makes this a breeze though, as the plastic grit grate at the button of their rolling five-gallon wash bucket contains a little bowl that is measured to the precise amount of product you need; simply pour the product in up to the line, and then fill with water to the five-gallon level. The bucket itself gets quite full with this amount of water and becomes easy to slosh and spill, but washing a small car like my 135i required most of the five gallons, and when I was done, my towels and wash pad were sitting on the bottom grate.

Adding five gallons to two ounces of Rinseless Wash & Wax nets a 320:1 dilution ratio. This isn’t the only mixing you’ll have to do though, as like I noted above, Rinseless Wash & Wax is also used as a spray-on liquid, and this is how we’ll tackle the dirtiest portions of my car, like the rockers, and rear end, where dirt and debris have stuck to the paint after the rain.

Once again, Griot’s makes this nearly impossible to get wrong or mess up. You follow the instructions on the Dilution Bottle, filling to each line, and you’re ready. Mixing 2.2 ounces of Rinseless Wash & Wax with approximately 33 ounces of water nets a dilution ratio of roughly 15:1, and allows the incredibly concentrated formula to be used in much the same way as Griot’s Spray-On Car Wash, in that you can mist it onto a dirty panel, allow it to dwell for a few minutes, and then wipe away to reveal a strong shine—Rinseless Wash & Wax boasts an advantage though, in that it also leaves behind a layer of protection that, in my experience, complements my use of Griot’s Garage Spray-On Wax as a drying aid during regular washing, and their Best of Show Spray Wax after I clayed the paint using their Fine Surface Prep Mitt.

Things don’t look too dirty from first glance, but we all know that silver and grey colors like the Space Grey of my 135i have a way of hiding things.

Change the angle, and one can appreciate the true state of things—this is not a clean car.

The rear end is always the worst.

I run a slightly upsized set of Michelin summer tires on my 135i, and this is one consequence.

For the upper portions of your car, dunk a Microfiber Wash Pad or a Plush Edgeless Microfiber Towel (the latter is included in the kit, and I used both the pad and some similar towels) in the five-gallon bucket, being sure to achieve full saturation, and then gently wipe, in straight lines, flipping the towel or pad as you progress, across a single panel at a time. For dirtier areas of my car, that weren’t below the belt line, I first used a microfiber cloth, making sure to apply as little pressure as possible while frequently flipping sides, and then followed up with the microfiber pad, once again making sure to alternate which side was sliding across the paint. The final step is drying. Griot’s Garage includes some PFM Terry Weave Towels in their kit, which work great, but since I also have their full-size PFM Terry Weave Drying Towel, I also used it as well.

For the dirtiest areas, the process is a bit different, but you’ll be glad you did it properly. As mentioned above, for places like your rocker panels, the areas behind your wheels, and in my case, the rear end and center front grille, the idea is to use the 15:1 diluted solution and spray it directly onto the panel. Do so liberally to ensure full coverage, and then allow it to sit on the paint for a few minutes. Once again, I followed the procedure of first allowing a plush microfiber to pick up the bulk of the debris, and then followed up with the wash pad. The final step is drying, with either a small or large PFM Terry Weave Towel or other towel of your choice.

Note the dirt on the microfiber towel. Like I said, it’s a good idea to continuously flip the side you’re using, along with unfolding and refolding the towel to get more clean real estate. Between uses, I make sure to, “wash” the towels and pad against the grit grates, which allow them to shed some of the dirt and debris they’ve picked up.

The idea is pretty similar with dirty wheels—spray the product on, allow it to dwell, and then wipe it away. It helps that I spray wax onto my wheels during the drying process after every car wash, so nothing really sticks to them, but the accumulation of brake dust still bothers me, and Rinseless Wash & Wax makes quick work of it. One quick note regarding wheels; I always use towels specific for wheel cleaning and drying, and they never touch the paint.

And here it is, the finished product looking sharp, as if I had just given it the full treatment—except I didn’t, and the process of using Griot’s Rinseless Wash and Wax was far easier and less time consuming than my traditional wash procedure, which takes anywhere from a few hours to the better part of a day, depending on how deep I’m going. The paint doesn’t just look good, either. The same feeling of immaculate slickness remains, with the continued protection of the wax component evident as well. Also note how the driveway and street aren’t soaked with water and wash runoff; true to the name and instructions, this stuff requires only the five gallons of water you pour in the bucket, and the 33 or so ounces used in the dilution bottle. This means you can use it both outdoors and in, or just about anywhere else, when conditions dictate.

I didn’t think there was a way to achieve these kind of result in such a short period of time, but in all honesty, I probably should have checked out this range of products years ago. The next time my car isn’t dirty enough to justify a full wash, but I still feel the need to clean things up, or when I simply can’t devote the time, I’ll be filling the rolling bucket with Rinseless Wash & Wax and getting the job done.

Remember, BMW CCA members save 15% on all liquid car-care products from Griot’s Garage. Visit the club website to find key codes and discount links.—Alex Tock

Note: If you’re not into the wax component of Griot’s Rinseless Wash & Wax, they have a solution for you. Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Rinseless Wash is used exactly the same way as described above, and doesn’t strip off your existing coat of wax. Not to mention, the video below shows it being used on a 135i coupe!

[Photos courtesy Alex Tock.]

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